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Mayor Gray and District Officials Announce Rhode Island Avenue as the Newest DC Main Streets Corridor

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Designation will provide grants and technical assistance to encourage economic growth

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) Director Robert Summers today announced the designation of Rhode Island Avenue NE as the newest DC Main Streets corridor. Rhode Island Avenue Main Street will join seven other DC Main Streets programs that have been accredited through DC Main Streets and the National Main Street Center, Inc.

“This is great news for the District of Columbia and the Ward 5 community,” said Mayor Gray. “Our Main Streets not only provide new economic opportunities for small businesses, but they are a collection of stories from diverse communities and represent the true vibrancy of the District.”

Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE, which will manage the new program, will implement initiatives and services to support the growth and development of neighborhood businesses as well as the revitalization of the commercial corridor of Rhode Island Avenue NE between 3rd Street NE and 10th Street NE and between 18th Street NE and 24th Street NE. Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE will receive a $200,000 grant from DC Main Streets and extensive technical assistance to support non-profit capacity building, business retention, program design and implementation, and commercial-revitalization planning to maintain the traditional and unique character of the distinct neighborhoods that are included in the Rhode Island Avenue Main Street boundaries. The program will be led by James Holloway, who chairs the Board of Directors for the Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE, and Kyle Todd, the group’s Executive Director.

“The economic development that will result from the grant will have a lasting positive impact on our small businesses,” said DSLBD Director Summers. “Improving our commercial districts is key to economic stability and growth, and we are thankful that we have a tremendous organization that will help lead the efforts.”

DC Main Streets, which is managed by DSLBD, is the coordinating agency that oversees the locally designated nonprofit Main Streets organizations. Funding is made possible through the Commercial Revitalization
Assistance Fund, which is administered by DSLBD. The grant will be matched with private-sector funds raised by Rhode Island Avenue Main Street.

Rhode Island Avenue Main Street will be an important resource for neighborhood businesses and corridor-wide commercial revitalization. The Main Street organization will develop targeted programs and services to strengthen the commercial corridor. Priorities include:

  • Promoting and marketing businesses and the commercial district
  • Improving the physical condition of storefronts and the public space in the commercial district
  • Coordinating services to help strengthen the operations of neighborhood-serving small businesses

DC Main Streets works in partnership with the National Main Street Center. Other Main Streets districts are Barracks Row Main Street, Congress Heights Main Streets, Deanwood Heights Main Streets, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, H Street Main Street, North Capitol Main Street, and Shaw Main Streets.